• Open Access

Atrazine biodegradation in the lab and in the field: enzymatic activities and gene regulation

Authors

  • Fernando Govantes,

    Corresponding author
      *E-mail fgovrom@upo.es; Tel. (+34) 954348644; Fax: (+34) 954349376.
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  • Odil Porrúa,

    1. Centro Andaluz de Biología del Desarrollo, Universidad Pablo de Olavide-CSIC, and Departamento de Biología Molecular e Ingeniería Bioquímica, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain.
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  • Vicente García-González,

    Corresponding author
      † Present address: Oryzon Genomics, Josep Samitier 1-5, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
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  • Eduardo Santero

    1. Centro Andaluz de Biología del Desarrollo, Universidad Pablo de Olavide-CSIC, and Departamento de Biología Molecular e Ingeniería Bioquímica, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain.
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*E-mail fgovrom@upo.es; Tel. (+34) 954348644; Fax: (+34) 954349376.

Present address: Oryzon Genomics, Josep Samitier 1-5, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

Summary

Atrazine is an herbicide of the s-triazine family that is used primarily as a nitrogen source by degrading microorganisms. While many catabolic pathways for xenobiotics are subjected to catabolic repression by preferential carbon sources, atrazine utilization is repressed in the presence of preferential nitrogen sources. This phenomenon appears to restrict atrazine elimination in nitrogen-fertilized soils by indigenous organisms or in bioaugmentation approaches. The mechanisms of nitrogen control have been investigated in the model strain Pseudomonas sp. ADP. Expression of atzA, atzB ad atzC, involved in the conversion of atrazine in cyanuric acid, is constitutive. The atzDEF operon, encoding the enzymes responsible for cyanuric acid mineralization, is a target for general nitrogen control. Regulation of atzDEF involves a complex interplay between the global regulatory elements of general nitrogen control and the pathway-specific LysR-type regulator AtzR. In addition, indirect evidence suggests that atrazine transport may also be a target for nitrogen regulation in this strain. The knowledge about regulatory mechanisms may allow the design of rational bioremediation strategies such as biostimulation using carbon sources or the use of mutant strains impaired in the assimilation of nitrogen sources for bioaugmentation.

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